Thomson CE, Kornegay JN, Burn RA, et al.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a noninvasive technique that provides accurate, detailed, anatomic images, has had a major impact in the diagnosis of human disease. This technique is based upon the inherent magnetic properties of certain nuclei. Induction of the nuclei into a low energy state is achieved by placing them in a static magnetic field. The nuclei may then be excited into a high energy state by application of a radio frequency pulse. When the second field is stopped, the nuclei return to ground state and emit the absorbed energy in the form of a radio signal. This signal is received by a coil that generally surrounds the specimen and converted to an anatomic image through a process of computer-assisted reconstruction. Contrast is altered by applying the second pulse in different sequences (saturation recovery, inversion recovery, and spin echo) and using enhancing agents such as gadolinium. In this paper, we present an overview of the general principles of MRI and some clinical examples in dogs and cats with central nervous system disease.